In his own Bill Cosby moment, Barack Obama yesterday used Father's Day as an opportunity to renew old comments critical of absent black dads. The speech had special relevance, of course, coming from the son of an absent father. And it avoided falling into conservative tropes by admitting that while two-parent households are one solution to the challenges facing poor children, social services are necessary as well:

We should be making it easier for fathers who make responsible choices and harder for those who avoid them. We should get rid of the financial penalties we impose on married couples right now, and start making sure that every dime of child support goes directly to helping children instead of some bureaucrat. We should reward fathers who pay that child support with job training and job opportunities and a larger Earned Income Tax Credit that can help them pay the bills. We should expand programs where registered nurses visit expectant and new mothers and help them learn how to care for themselves before the baby is born and what to do after – programs that have helped increase father involvement, women’s employment, and children’s readiness for school. We should help these new families care for their children by expanding maternity and paternity leave, and we should guarantee every worker more paid sick leave so they can stay home to take care of their child without losing their income.

By the way, to those who were surprised that Obama appointed centrist Brookings Institutions type Jason Furman to his economic policy team, note his "earned income tax credit" solutions -- and this is nothing new. It's been out there on Obama's website since the beginning of the campaign.

--Dana Goldstein


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